Case Closed follows the story of one Shinichi Kudo/Conan Edogawa, a super-smart teenager who spends all his free time solving criminal cases, who eventually runs afoul of an organization that decides to kill him. But instead, they wind up transforming him into a young child, who continues to try and solve cases while hunting down the organization.
But when he’s not dealing with murder cases and battling the Black Organization, he occasionally deals with a certain phantom thief known as The Kaito Kid. But what do we really know about Kid? Well, as it turns out, quite a bit as he’s one of Gosho Aoyama’s earlier creations. Read on to learn about Shinichi/Conan’s most formidable foe, and one of the most famous gentlemen thieves in anime.
10 HAS HIS OWN SERIES
Something that could easily elude casual Case Closed fans is that the Kaitou Kid got his own anime a while back. In fact, the character actually predates Shinichi Kudo and Case Closed by several years, as Gosho Aoyama’s first chapter of the manga released in 1987 in the pages of Weekly Shonen Sunday. This series was later adapted into an anime series in the form of Magic Kaito 1412, which came out in the Fall of 2014. This series ran a full 24 episodes and brought us into Kaito Kuroba’s world.
9 FIGHTS AN ORGANIZATION
It’s a little vague, but Kaito’s goal is fighting a shadowy organization that we’ve never actually known the name of. It's referred to as the "Magic Kaito Organization" in some circles but that seems like it implies Kaito is actually running the group rather than fighting it. Fans have occasionally suspected this is the same group as the Black Organization, but in addition to the naming schemes being entirely different, writer Aoyama has confirmed this not to be the case. In any case, after learning this group killed his father because he refused to help them find the Pandora, a gem which can give someone immortality, Kaito’s been working to bring them out of hiding and shut them down.
8 RETURNS WHAT HE STEALS
When fans think of Lupin, they tend to view him in a lighter sense than most thieves because of his personality. Well compared to Lupin, Kaito’s somehow even less dangerous. His goal is to find the Pandora gem before The Organization does to foil their crimes.
Everything he steals is focused around this goal, and when a gem isn’t the Pandora? He just gives it back. Though he’s still a thief, Kaito’s goal is much closer to saving the world and avenging his father rather than being self-serving.
7 IS ACTUALLY THE THIRD KAITO KID
Despite his name literally being Kaito, Kaito Kuroba is actually not the first Kaito Kid. He isn’t even the second. His father Toichi Kuroba was the first Kaito Kid, taking on the role and performing capers for sometime before dying in a mysterious “accident”. The second Kaito Kid was Toichi’s assistant, Konosuke Jii. He played as Kaito to try and lure out the people who murdered Toichi, before Kaito took on the job for himself. Since taking on the job, he’s found Toichi’s secret room where all his Kaito Kid gadgets and tricks were, and learned more about the hidden world his dad was plunged into.
6 HIS MOM WAS A THIEF TOO
Sometimes you’re simply born into your position. It certainly feels that way with Kaito, because his mom was a thief long before he or his father was. Chikage Kuroba was originally known as The Phantom Lady. As a hero of the people, Chikage would steal from massive corporations that made their money through shady means, so pretty much all of them, technically. Later in her career, she began stealing forgeries people were selling for money and giving them to the police. After being saved by Kaito’s father Toichi, the two of them began dating.
5 LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE SHINICHI
Kaito just so happens to look almost identical to Shinichi Kudo, the lead protagonist of Case Closed. The most likely reason for this is that Aoyama really wanted that design to take off, so he simply copied it over to the series he did alongside Magic Kaito. But it’s actually something that’s acknowledged in universe as well. Kaito has multiple times used this fact to his advantage, helping him to get away despite not having a disguise handy. Like this, he’s even fooled Ran, Shinichi’s girlfriend.
4 MASTER OF DISGUISE
Before Kaito Kuroba became the Kaito Kid, he specialized in magic tricks—he was great with sleight of hand and illusionary tricks. As Kaito Kid, this ability seems to be turned up to eleven. With proper preparation, he’s managed to imitate dozens of different people.
He’s able to subsume himself into a role regardless of a person’s sex (he’s been a woman numerous times) or stature (he’s played everything from a maid to an airline pilot). He’s even proven capable of looking like some children or playing his own rivals and enemies.
3 ONE OF THE SERIES' MOST POPULAR CHARACTERS
Normally, the most popular character of a television series is often a member of the main cast. They might not be the main character, but they’re usually someone who’s in the show more often than not. But Kaito Kid only makes sporadic appearances in Case Closed, as the story is about Shinichi stopping a massive crime organization, not some kid who steals stuff only to give it back. Nonetheless, in everything from online polls to polls in Shonen Sunday where Case Closed is published, Kaito typically tends to come in either first or second.
2 HIS NAMING ORIGINS
There are layers to Kaito’s name. His last name, Kuroba, means “black feather”--referring to how he’s always battling with the law. It’s also how one pronounces “clover” in Japanese—and there happens to be a clover on his monocle. “Kaitou” means Phantom Thief in Japanese, and when the original Kaitou Kid began performing his art, he was referred to as “International Criminal #1412”. After a reporter referred to him as Kaitou 1412, their messily written handwriting was read as “Kaitou Kid”, thus leading us to the birth of Conan’s greatest gentleman thief.
1 HIS STORY HAS NO ENDING
Unfortunately, to this day there’s been no end to Kaito Kid’s storyline. Aoyama began working on Case Closed in the early 90’s and it took off as an immediate hit, resulting in him shelving this storyline. Since then, the remaining chapters have been turned into two more volumes, one released in 2007 and another in 2017. Ultimately, if anyone holds the (totally correct) view that Kaito Kid is a better series and would want to get an ending to it, they’d have to wait until Case Closed came to an end. But with the series at over 1000 chapters and counting, people shouldn’t their hopes up.